The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern
Ireland today welcomed the emphasis on mental health and learning
disability in John Compton’s
Review of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland, including
recommendations to improve mental health services for young people,
to promote early intervention, and to enable people of all ages to
be treated in their own homes.
Dr Philip McGarry, Chair of the Royal College
of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland, particularly welcomed
recommendations that the Executive consider alcohol price
restrictions, which the College had argued could be the single
biggest act that Government could undertake to improve health and
Dr McGarry said: "This review has acknowledged that mental
health services receive up to 30% less funding in Northern Ireland
than elsewhere in the UK, and we are very pleased that a fifth of
the recommendations in this report relate to mental health and
learning disability. The emphasis on providing services away from
the hospital setting and on early intervention on conditions such
as psychosis is encouraging."
The College agrees with Bamford’s goal that
people with mental health problems and learning disabilities should
not be living in hospital, but is concerned that people should not
be moved into the community without the right accommodation, proper
support and services to live full and independent lives, and
support for carers and other family members.
Dr McGarry said: "It is entirely right that
people should not be living in hospital, but neither should they be
moved out of hospital to meet a deadline for the sake of a change
of address. So while we welcome the commitment to resettle people
into the community in line with Bamford’s recommendations, we would
stress that Compton’s recommendations around accommodation,
integrated community services, carer support and respite care, and
personalised budgets need to be implemented before this deadline
can be met."
Dr McGarry continued: "The Compton Review
provides the opportunity for a radical reshaping and modernisation
of health and social care in Northern Ireland. While investment is
needed in the short term, and this has been outlined in the report,
much of this is about changing the way we do things rather than
more expensive services in the long term. Psychiatrists are open to
new ways of working, and we look forward to working with the
Department to implement these recommendations."
For further information, please
McLoughlin in the Communications Department.
Telephone: 0203 701 2544 or 07738 349070